They held a farewell reception on campus earlier this week for outgoing University of Georgia president Michael Adams, who still has a little more than two months to go before he steps down.
Among his list of things to do in the weeks ahead, he said, won’t be getting athletic director Greg McGarity another raise beyond his current deal already in place.
“No, I did last year what I thought was appropriate at the time,” Adams said.
McGarity ranks 12th out of 14 Southastern Conferece athletic directors in salary, according to a USA Today survey that came out in March. New Alabama athletic director Bill Battle’s $620,000 salary is two spots ahead of McGarity, who makes more than just Mississippi State’s Scott Stricklin and Ole Miss’ Ross Bjork.
Adams is happy with how McGarity is running things, but he wants to keep things in perspective.
“I think there’s a fundamental issue there that we have to solve going forward,” Adams said. “I think Greg is great; I think we have to be cognizant of the market. Whether or not we have to be completely bound by the market is a decision that somebody else will make. Greg is basically a senior administrator. He now makes more money than any other senior administrator but me. How far do you go down that road and you’re speaking out of both sides of your mouth. You’re preaching unity with the body politic on one hand and you’re creating division on the other. That’s one those easy ones I’m going to let Jere work out.”
That would be incoming president Jere Morehead.
McGarity’s salary already is due to increase in July to $550,000 under a contract that now runs through 2017, but that will keep him where he is on the SEC list.
Adams spoke before the latest Directors’ Cup Standings were released on Thursday.
Georgia ranks No. 9 in the all-sports measure. That’s a considerable jump from where the Bulldogs finished last year at No. 18.
Georgia hasn’t finished in the top 10 since 2008 at No. 10.
Adams also weighed in on some hot-button issues on the college athletics scene now:
–On the drumbeat of criticism directed at NCAA president Mark Emmert, who was named to the position in 2010 at a time when Adams was among the candidates: “Mark’s had colossal bad luck the last two years. I think he’s a good person. I know him very well. If you just stop and think about Ohio State, Miami, Penn State, some of the issues that are out there, he’s had more than a full plate.”
–Five years ago, Adams called for an eight-team college football playoff.
This week, more details of a four-team playoff were unveiled.
What are the big issues he sees going forward in the next five years in college athletics?
“The confidence level in the NCAA as an institution,” he said, expressing what others have said in recent weeks. “Don’t jump to any people with that, just the whole functioning institution. That may be the biggest current issue. Somebody has got to enhance and restore a greater level of confidence in the NCAA as an institution and I may have a chance to play a small hand in that.”
Adams, a former chair of the NCAA executive committee, will serve a three-year term on the NCAA committee of infractions.
“I’ve been interested in infractions,” said Adams, who beefed up the enforcement staff budget as chair. “I think the punishments have to fit the crimes. I think the NCAA has to do their job better.”
Adams is not among those who wants to see the power conferences break away from the NCAA, but he said there’s a “wide gulf” between the “the 65 big-time IA schools and the rest of the NCAA. I have generally been and continue to be an NCAA person. You remember when I made my ill-fated attempt to move the playoffs along in ’08. I suggested for several reasons that it be run by the NCAA. I think the NCAA runs championships that look like college events better than anybody. The growing gulf between those of us in what are now the big five football conferences and the rest of the world, that division is greater than it has ever been and it permeates every decision making level of both institutions and the NCAA to the point that I hear more talk now about whether or not those schools belong in the NCAA than I have any time since I started this 40 years ago. My view is they still belong.”
Adams said he lobbied the late Myles Brand when he was NCAA president to bring the Division II and III championships to the site of the basketball tournament.
“It took a while for that to happen,” he said. “I think we gain a lot from the membership in Division III and Division II and to use the old vernacular—the I-A and I-AA football championship series members.”
–And Adams doesn’t agree with departing North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp that more control over college athletics should go back into the hands of athletic directors.
“I don’t think managing sports, except for the emotions, is technically a lot different than the technology transfer office,” Adams said. “They both have a lot of subtleties that you have to learn. I don’t think the president can have ultimate control for certain parts of the university and not have ultimate control for other parts of the university.”
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer